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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Dallas County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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James A. Amis, general merchant, Fordyce, Ark. Mr. Amis established his business in Fordyce in 1883, and carries a stock of goods, the average value of which is about $5,000, with annual sales of from $10,000 to $15,000. He was born in Granville County, N. C, in 1829, and is the son of Col. Joseph and Elizabeth (Downey) Amis, and the grandson of James Lewis Amis, who emigrated from Virginia to North Carolina, at an early day, and there successfully tilled the soil until his death. The maternal grandfather, James Downey, was a farmer and died in Granville County, N. C. The parents of our subject were born in Granville County, N. C., and there they spent their entire lives, the father dying in 1840 and the mother in 1845. The former was of French Huguenot descent, was a colonel in the War of 1812, and by occupation followed in the footsteps of his father. James A. Amis, the fifth of eight children, two now living: Lewis and subject, assisted his father on the farm until ten years of age, or until the death of the latter, when he entered Caldwell Institute, Hillsboro, N. C, and there remained for several years. He then attended Jefferson College, at Cannonsburg, Penn., and graduated from that institution about 1857. After this he followed merchandising at Greensboro, N. C, until the breaking out of the war when he enlisted in Company H, First North Carolina Cavalry, and served about two years in Virginia army. He was then discharged on account of disability. He was captured at the seven days’ fight, and imprisoned several weeks near Fortress Monroe. After being exchanged he hired a substitute for $1,000, and he then engaged in teaching. Later he ran the blockade and took a cargo of tobacco to New York. In 1867 he came to Arkansas and engaged in merchandising at Princeton, where he continued until 1883. He then moved to Fordyce, where he has been one of the leading merchants since. He was married in 1868, to Miss Bettie Taylor, who was left an orphan when young, and was reared by an uncle, Judge Presley Watts. Mr. Amis has a good home and good business property in Fordyce and is also the owner of considerable real estate. In politics he is a conservative Democrat, was formerly a Whig, and cast his first presidential vote for Scott in 1852. Mrs. Amis is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

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This family biography is one of 55 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Dallas County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Dallas County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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